Category Archives: art



Original quote from Ira Glass.


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May 23, 2013 · 11:39 PM

Buried physical memories

I took capoeira from very late 2008 to June of 2010 when I moved away from California. I knew where the capoeira group in NYC was. I knew that I could join other groups, but I didn’t. I left capoeira  in California. I left it because despite the beauty and how much I loved it, it also hurt me. Love and hurt were no longer in equal measure, but hurt was greater. After a long break, I’m returning.

My new group requires that everyone new to the group must go through an absolute beginners class. It was a humbling experience. Things that I once was good at were now beyond my ability. I knew I was too weak, but what I didn’t expect was to have a jumble of memories. Just enough to make it familiar when I finally got it right, but not enough to make the journey to right any shorter or easier.

Now because of my schedule I attend an all levels class. I’m clearly the newest. Clearly the weakest. The only one who has not been through a batizado. The only one without a nom de guerra. I am constantly asked to do movements that were challenging for me when I left. Things I was still trying to perfect. Today my teacher suggested that I do a cartwheel without hands. Fear took a seat deep in my abdomen, and I refused. I could once, but I doubt that I could now. Maybe again. Maybe again soon.

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Social, Partner, Dancing

I made a point to break down to the people that I taught this past weekend that blues is a social partner dance, and that I thought that each of those was it’s own complete concept.

Social – we go out to where there are other people. We mingle and make friends. Our classes have us rotate so we get to know how to dance with many others and so we get to know the  others we might dance with later.

Partner – I like to think that most of the leading and following technique falls here. This is where we find connection, and follower’s physics, and the tacit agreements. A lot of classes give this the lightest of service, and I want to make sure that I always have some part of my classes address this.

Dancing – this is probably the part that is the hardest to teach. It shares a lot of techniques with partnering, but unless there is an intention to dance to music, I don’t think people are learning dance, but instead learning movement.

I think that all of these elements need to be balance. The pull between partnering and dancing is sometimes the hardest to get right, and the sweetest to hit when you make it.

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Filed under art, blues dance, community, following, leading, learning, music, socialization, teaching

Since I love pictures

I really loved this post.

I am concerned by the pictures that are taken of me. If I scroll through the pictures of me on facebook they are almost all pictures of me dancing with other women. While I love dancing with women, and I love leading, I really wish there were more photos of me following. Do I look wonky when I follow?

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What is blues?

Categories exist for the better appreciation of works of art, not vice versa, whatever pedants may suggest to the contrary. The works themselves come first, both in time and importance.

Salgado, Gamini. Three Jacobean Tragedies. Revised ed. London: Penguin Books, 1987. 12. Print.

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I feel like in society there is a certain connotation to the word dancer. I’m not sure that I’m comfortable with it. First I think everyone should go read this post by Ruby Red. I have two things that I want to say about it, but the second can wait for another day.


But the first is directly related to this quote

Against this particular backdrop, dance culture appears rare and stylized. The rest of America sits and watches, observing, consuming, but not participating. The few of us who dance are outside the lines, a little strange, or perhaps specially talented. It’s like music culture. Done by ‘others,’ ‘artists’

Going through undergrad people in classes with me would find out that my hobby is to dance. I would spend time trying to explain my hobby. Time and time again trying to stress that what I did wasn’t very formal. That I danced with a partner. That it was social and I liked the people and the skills were secondary. Yet despite all my explanations I became the classes token dancer. I remember in a sport psychology class my teacher asided “you understand, being a dancer”.  Sitting in that class, my teacher calling me out in front of all my peers who I knew had the same opinion; I wanted to say, but no, I’m not a dancer, not a real dancer. I’ve spent years trying to delineate what separates me. I spend most my free time dancing. Most of my entertainment budget is spent on dances and lessons and exchanges. Most of my friends are people that I dance with.

In my denial there is the complimentary dismissal by people who feel that they are real dancers. My school advisor said something along the lines of folk dances are so people who have no technique can enjoy music. He was lumping swing and salsa and blues all together in this. I have decided however, I will take the label if people want to give it to me. Everyone has their won abilities toward skill or technique. I don’t know the gate keeper, and I’m not going to become one. Lets all be dancers.

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Finding music

Since I’m a cheapskate in grad school I try very hard not to spend money on music. However, I like having music and curating a collection. I spend way more time that necessary making sure that meta data and cover art etc. are all in place and pretty for the music I have. I feel uncomfortable with free music, so I find places on the internet where artists place actually offer free downloads of their music.

A few of my current favorites.

A dramatic cover of Summertime.

Dirtwire, a band that has some awesome eclectic sounds.

You Can Have My Husband, by Donna Green, with true blues themes.

I hope every one is having an awesome New Year. It snuck up on me, and tomorrow I head to the next stage of my trip.

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